With the weather projected to change, and the winds to increase, we decided to leave Conception and head toward Cat Island. This is a fairly long trip, about 40 miles of open ocean. The winds were calm but built as we progressed, finally blowing 10-15 knots behind us.
The ride was nice with the following seas, the wind direction ESE. We trolled some feathers behind the boat, and got nothing, until we hit the wall off of Cat. A nice Mahi was boated for dinner that night.
After we were on the banks, heading north, just west of the long narrow island, we stayed in 5-6 metres of water. The charts showed good depth the entire way, but we had large cumulous clouds hanging overhead, cast big shadows on the water, making it look as though we had reef or grass everywhere around us. As we neared the shadows, they would disappear. Finally getting used to the show cast reefs, we maintained the course toward the Bight, planning to anchor off of South Bight, off of a small resort recommended to us by Dragonfly.
We headed toward the long white sand beach, with two other boats anchored. Dropping the hook in 2 ½ metres of water, we rested nicely off the island. The anchor windlass stopped working after we were set.
So an unexpected project ensued, as I took the multi meter out and started to trace the issue, beginning with the 2x 12volt batteries that offer the 24volt power to the windlass. I was thinking the batteries were not getting charged. Testing them, they were getting 26-28 volts, with the charger on. I moved up to the bow locker, where the anchor chain, and windlass are located. I discovered the control box which houses the up and down solenoid switches had been arching and had burned.
I opened up the box, and discovered the connection for the positive power into both the switches was loose, and making a bad contact. A fairly easy fix, removing the common bar, cleaning and tightening all connections firmly, and we were back in business.
Jenny is always so helpful when there are maintenance things to do. Some of the Nordhavn wives choose not to get involved with maintenance work but Jenny stays and helps. Saving me lots of time and effort in this case, not having to crawl out of the bow locker which is over 7 feet deep, to go and get a tool that I need.
We retired early after the fresh Mahi dinner, very tired following the long passage.
The forecast SSE winds did blow overnight, and we awoke to fresh winds with a very small wind chop, as the anchorage is nicely protected from the SE-N. We wanted to head over toward the Old Bight, which is about 6 miles north of us, and where the small township, and the old ruins of the Hermitage lay.
We launched the dinghy and pounded our way to New Bight, where 6 or 8 boats were anchored. The trip was rough, only the promise of the return against the wind and chop promising to be worse.
The ruins were the result of a hermit monk and architect final place of refuge for Father Jerome, which he built in 1939 on Mt. Alvernia. At 206 feet, Mt Alvernia is the highest point in the Bahamas.
Father Jerome created a beautiful cathedral, and place to spend his final days on the mount. I am a real sucker for old ruins, buildings, even if they are religious in nature.
Jenny and I landed the dinghy off the beach, anchored it offshore so that it would get planted on the sand making departing more difficult. We found the place to deposit out garbage and headed up Mt. Como/Alvernia.
The hike was easy until we neared the top, where the very steep rock, with primitive steps leads to the ruins. Along the steep path Father Jerome had created out of local stone the 14 Stations of the Cross.
I enjoyed the photo opportunities, and upon reaching the Hermitage, enjoyed the views with the old ruins in the foreground even more.
Returning to the beach, we walked over to the bakery, which was closed, unfortunately. Procrastinating no longer, we got back on the dink and pounded our way back to the boat. It was slow doing and spine tingling ride, but as we got further to the south the chop lessened as the beach offered more protection for the southerly winds. When we reached the small resort, the chop was nonexistent, and the beach and colors were amazing.
We headed over the small beach resort and anchored the dinghy and went in to check it out.
The staff was very friendly and showed us the honor bar system, and lead us onto the open air, shaded patio area, where the crew from the only other boat left in the anchorage were waiting for lunch.
We got to talking to them, they had spent quite a bit of time in George Town, and we knew the boat name from the Georgetown radio net. We enjoyed meeting them, and as they were very interested in the Nordhavn, we invited them for sundowners.
We had a pretty expensive lunch of fresh grouper, and enjoyed the setting. Returning the boat to relax, and before long to ready for our sundowner party.
Tom and the crew off of Finisterre came over and toured Southern Star, and we enjoyed meeting more cruising friends. They were returning to GT to drop their friends in the next day or so, as we were.
Next day was a lazy day, as we dinghy to the shallow inlet to the south. Ideal bone fishing territory, but as Tom informed us last night, the Bahamian government, had made bone fishing without a Bahamian guide illegal. The move was very unpopular with anglers who stayed at the small resorts or who owned houses in the islands.
We nosed around in the beautiful shallow lagoon, seeing small sharks, rays, and turtles, and then headed back out to the beach and anchored the dink, and did a marathon walk. The beach in the Bight is about 15km long, and we walked about ½ of it that afternoon.
Cat Island ranks in one of the top 6 destinations that we have seen so far. We like the natural beauty, the long white sand beaches, and the seclusion. This is definitely our idea of cruising
Next morning early, we up anchor and started out for a lumpy ride back to George Town, for a final provisioning, a visit to the clinic Dr. to check my blood pressure meds, and then to start to saunter back north.